We’ve been at Dave and Claudia’s for almost a month now, and it will be hard to leave on Sunday. What a gift it has been to have this time with them, how gracious they have been to make us feel at home, how kind it was that they extended the invitation. What an incredible cook Claudia is. It’s been so much fun to hang out with them and to play with Luca and Owen! We figured out that Dave and Dan haven’t lived together since Minnie-apple, so that’s almost 30 years. They’ve both lived in various locations, and we’ve had glorious vacations together, but to have the twins be under the same roof – priceless.
It didn’t start out too well, however. We left Raleigh a day early, because we just couldn’t wait any longer to see them, and arrived on their street, all ready to back the rig into their driveway below. Please note all the trees on the right, because Dan and Dave both worked on trimming them and both had accidents doing so. We were lucky to not visit the ER, and Dan’s ribs weren’t broken, but he was hurting for a good 10 days. (Even now I can’t pretend punch him!) While we were half way backing into the driveway while trimming, a neighbor came by, and within 5 minutes she had called the president of the homeowner’s association to complain about the RV… not exactly a warm welcome. Yes, these are high-end homes, but who doesn’t welcome their neighbor’s family for a visit? I didn’t know people like that still existed. Dave visited with all the other neighbors, and no one else had a problem with it. So this was our parking spot for the month.
We quickly settled in to our own rooms, and I thought we’d never see Nate again. Dave moved his office, so Nate got the penthouse, complete with weights, a real bed and a door that closes. I’m sure if there was a fridge and microwave in there we’d never see him. So nice to be here.
Saturday soccer! Really fun to see the boys play and to sit in the sun and reminisce about when Eliza played soccer and we found out she was allergic to grass. We were able to see 4 of the boys’ games and it was worth the 12,450 mile drive! Luca and Owen are athletes like their Dad.
At the local park, Dave threw the football to the boys for hours. Nate is a football fanatic now, so he really enjoyed the time with Dave. In between, Luca and Nate would pummel each other and Owen would play with the dogs. Pretty much perfect.
I found a place to workout only 6 miles away, and these women are so congenial, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to dance! I am a Jazzercise addict, both for what it does for my physical health as well as my mental health – there is nothing better than sweating hard while dancing, lifting, singing and laughing. I went almost every morning, while the kids were doing school, so it worked into our schedule really well. One day a week I did a double and I would be smiling the rest of the day. Got some of my strength back, woohoo!
The kids have been doing an incredible job with online school while we are here. They have their computers in their rooms, and the wifi works (as opposed to RV parks!), so they are able to work and take breaks when they want. Dan is helping both of them with math, and I do the proofreading. It’s interesting to see what they are learning, but they both still hate it. There are no friends to break up the coursework, like brick and mortar schools. I keep telling them to enjoy it, because when we go home they will be complaining about that school, but that doesn’t help. For now, I am proud of them for working so hard and managing their work on their own.
We went downtown and toured the area before seeing a local mime group put on a black light Halloween show. Charlotte is a cool town; reminded me a lot of Portland for it’s vibe – very cool. They were just named the most livable city, and I can see why. The weather is temperate, the infrastructure is all new, and it’s GREEN everywhere you look. The population has exploded in the past 20 years, with only 12% being natives. People are moving from up north in droves. It’s the second biggest financial center in the US (to NYC) and the first week we were here they were on an orange alert – which evidently happens frequently.
As opposed to Oregon, one of the most un-churched states, there is a church on every corner here and people actually attend on Sunday mornings. So refreshing to be around other believers. This picture is from the second floor balcony (there are 3) at Calvary Church, Billy Graham’s home church. (He attended here.) We went twice because we liked the pastor – Dr. John Munro from Scotland. My favorite line was when he received an email that said, “Quit telling God how big your storm is; instead tell the storm how big your God is.” He has recently been through some difficultly. They have programs and speakers that I could only dream of in little Bend.
I’m at the Harris YMCA working on this blog while the kids are working out. It’s so nice it’s almost like a private club. Nate’s gets a private trainer for an hour each day, and the other buff athletes cannot believe he’s only 13. Neither can we; he acts 21. Eliza does a circuit set and is working on running a mile faster; I’m sure I won’t be able to keep up now. We are hoping to do a 5k in Florida together – in the sun and heat! Bring it on.
So we hit the road on Sunday morning, and it will be hard. We have loved spending time with Dave, Claudia, Luca and Owen and are so grateful for this time together. On the other hand, the road is calling…